2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT PremiumPosted on October 25th, 2013
Crossover gains more powerful engine and enhanced interior
By Nina Russin
Subaru is evidence of how successful a niche manufacturer can be if it listens to its audience. The automaker has affiliations with athletes dating back to its sponsorship of the US Ski Team in the 1970s: a network now vastly expanded four decades later.
Because of that, product planners understand what buyers with active lifestyles need and value in a vehicle. Standard all-wheel drive, easy-to-clean interiors, large, versatile cargo bays and a high level of standard safety are part of the brand’s DNA.
Although the Forester began as an all-wheel drive wagon in the late 1990s, it has evolved into a larger crossover. The newest model has a slightly longer wheelbase than the outgoing car, but is significantly longer, wider and taller, translating to a roomier interior.
A new two-liter turbocharged and intercooled engine is available on the XT model, mated to a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard on all trim levels. There are four grades: base, premium, limited and touring.
Base price for the Premium 2.0XT test car with the automatic transmission is $27,995, excluding the $825 destination charge. Standard comfort and convenience features include air conditioning, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth interface, rearview camera, a 10-way power driver’s seat and fold-flat second row seats.
Test drive in Phoenix, Arizona
This week, I jumped behind the wheel of the new Forester for the second time, having first experienced the car on paved and dirt roads at a media preview last winter in southern Arizona.
Although I’m a bit disappointed in the increase in vehicle size, only because of a personal bias for smaller wagons, the Forester continues to do an excellent job of filling all the squares for active buyers. The new engine adds quite a bit of power over the 170-horsepower base engine, which makes a big difference in low-end acceleration and highway performance.
Because of the engine’s symmetrical design, the all-wheel drive system works exceptionally well: much better than in competitive products. At our recent Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year competition, the Forester was easily capable of navigating a challenging off-road course normally restricted to vehicles with a two-speed transfer case.
I prefer the manual gearbox to the continuously variable automatic transmission on the test car. It gives the driver an extra measure of control, and is more fun on twisting rural roads.
Enhanced safety features on the 2014 models include lane keep assistance that monitors the driver and automatically applies the brakes to move the vehicle back inside the lane if he starts to drift. Adaptive cruise control maintains a preset distance between the Subaru and the vehicle in front, enabling the driver to use the feature in dense traffic.
The rearview camera projects a wide angle view to the back of the vehicle when the driver shifts into reverse, making it easier to monitor cross-traffic in crowded parking lots. I found the screen a bit small and difficult to read in bright sunlight. Still, it’s a valuable addition.
On the same screen, the driver can get real-time information about fluid temperatures and turbocharger boost.
The electric power steering system has the advantage of saving space under the hood and reducing internal pumping losses. On-center response is not as sharp as for a conventional hydraulic system, but the turning circle is much smaller, in this case 34.8 feet. I had no problems performing the occasional U-turn on wide suburban roads.
Disc brakes with ventilated rotors on all four wheels stop the car in firm, linear fashion.
Subarus tend to be a bit noisier on the inside than some competitive products, simply because product planners want to limit the amount of weight they tack onto their cars. I’m not bothered by it, preferring better fuel economy to a slightly quieter interior. The new Forester averages 28 mpg on the highway according to the EPA: a very good number for an all-wheel drive vehicle of this size.
The Forester interior should function well for its intended audience, with easy-to-clean cloth seats and fold-flat second row seats that extend the cargo floor. I found the power driver’s seat easy to adjust and comfortable for longer drives.
Redundant steering wheel controls minimize driver distraction. Controls on the center stack are easy to reach from either front seating position and intuitive to operate.
I like the fact that product planners added a 12-volt power point in the cargo area. That and special lighting come in handy when owners need to camp overnight before a race. Reclining rear seatbacks keep all occupants comfortable on longer road trips.
The Subaru Forester comes with front, side, side curtain and driver’s knee airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, whiplash-resistant front seats, daytime running lamps and a rearview camera. The factory warranty includes three years of roadside assistance: up to 36,000 miles.
The 2014 Forester is on display at Subaru dealerships nationwide.
Like: An affordable all-wheel drive crossover with a focus on buyers with active lifestyles.
Dislike: Small screen makes the rearview camera image difficult to see, especially in bright sunlight.
Base price: $27,995
As tested: $28,820
Horsepower: 250 Hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 258 lbs.-ft. @ 2000 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 23/28 mpg city/highway2014, Best Value Offroad 2014, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, performance, pricing, standard safety, Subaru
One response to “2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Premium”
An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers
Leave a reply